House & Gardens
Quinta da Conceição Historic Country Retreat has 12 comfortable and character filled suites and apartments, all beautifully furnished with antiques and original art. The stunning entrance hall, grand lounge and dining room, the Old Kitchen, terraces, large swimming pool and extensive gardens are all exclusively for the use of guests staying at the house.
Rooms can be booked individually or groups can book the whole house and enjoy exclusive use of the house and facilities with complete privacy. Our small team will be on hand to ensure your comfort and make sure your stay is truly unforgettable.
The whole property has recently undergone a decade long restoration and refurbishment to carefully and sympathetically bring this special place into the 21st century.
The Solar, (manor house in Portuguese) is situated on a secluded hill top surrounded by an estate of over 50 hectares of rural idyll, ancient cork oak forests, olive groves and fields guaranteeing fine views, privacy, tranquillity, nature and clean air. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind, yet is conveniently located to visit the historic and cultural attractions of beautiful Lisbon and Sintra, the wine and gastronomy of the nearby towns of Azeitão, Sesimbra, Palmela & Setubal, the stunning coastline and beaches of the Arrábida natural park and golf at Quinta do Peru.
The gardens are laid out on a west facing hill side leading down to the so called “Vale Real”, an 18th centruy canal that once linked the property with Lisbon by boat, and named Real (Royal) due to the royal visits of King Joao V. A long staircase descends from the house towards the old canal passing the swimming pool, terraces and the traditional Portuguese style garden with a formal garden and even an aqueduct.
The swimming pool was originally built in the 18th century as a water tank to store the Quinta’s spring water. It has been carefully adapted to create a unique solar heated salt water swimming pool with plenty of room to relax and enjoy the great Portuguese summer. The pool is usually warm enough to use from mid May until the end of October. Behind the pool is our new Spa, with a sauna and steam room, bathroom, bar area and massage room.
Quinta da Conceição, as it was originally called was built for the Dutchman Antonio Cremer and his wife Catherine van Zeller in 1715.
The dedication above the chapel door has a latin inscription which reads:
“Supreme God and also the most pure and Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God, Antonius D. Cremer erected this chapel, Knight of the Order of Christ, admiral, charged with all of the affairs between the United Provinces of Belgium and Portugal, as well as his precious wife, D. Catarina Sofia van Zeller, both to satisfy their own devotion as well as that of their neighbours. They built this house together for their home and to provide a quiet life for their descendants, may the grace of the Almighty grant this to them, for which they also planted here a garden. The foundation stone was laid on the first day of May 1715 precisely on the day the peace treaty between Portugal and Spain was published. And here, on September 8 of that year, in all solemnity, the first religious service was held. Accept o Virgin, these altars that we dedicate to you and do not despise, merciful Mother, this small house.”
Antonio Cremer was sent to Portugal during the Spanish war of succession (1701-1714) where he served as admiral. Cremer was appointed a knight of the “ordem de Cristo” for his services, one of the highest honours proffered by the Portuguese crown. After the treaty of Utrech was signed in 1713, Cremer stayed in Portugal acting as a Dutch diplomat. In 1725, Cremer was appointed by King João V to oversee and revolutionise the production of gunpowder for the Portuguese empire, a vital commodity for the Portuguese navy in defending what was at that time probably the richest empire in Europe. Portuguese gunpowder was in short supply and of inferior quality, so Cremer designed and built several new water powered factories and by 1729 Cremer’s gunpowder was regarded as the best in Europe.
King João V visited Quinta da Conceição in 1715, and once again in 1727, this time accompanied by his wife Arch Duchess Anna Maria of Austria and their children Donna Barbara, Dom Pedro and Dom José, and it is recorded that the King was greeted with a nine gun salute and refreshments.
The coat of arms of Anton Cremer and his wife Catherine Van Zeller which sits above the fireplace in the Sala includes references to Cremer’s gunpowder heritage on the left side with a stork clutching a cannon ball in one foot. On the right side are the arms of the Van Zeller family (three birds and a star).
The manor house which is approximately 800m2 in size is a true gem of baroque architecture with a Dutch inspired bell tower and traditional Portuguese layout and features. It is a wonderful and compact example of a baroque building both inside and outside, being dramatic, imposing, yet beautiful and completely unexpected to find emerging from the forest at the end of a long and winding dirt road. It is a building that can not help but make an impression on you. It is laid out on two floors with the upper floor containing grand rooms with high ceilings and the ground floor with more rustic charm.
By 1941, when the family of the current owners purchased it from the de Sousa family of Quinta das Torres, the house had fallen into total disrepair. The new owner, Carlos Ferreira, one of the most prolific entrepreneurs of his day, commissioned the Portuguese architect Antonio Lino to transform the near ruin into more or less how it is laid out to the present day. After falling once more into disrepair and suffering extensive vandalism over the last decades, over the past 10 years the house and gardens have been slowly brought back once again to their former magnificent selves and now serve as a marvelous wedding venue, retreat centre and historic guest house. We hope this new life will see this wonderful place through to its 400th birthday!
Carlos and Laura Ferreira c. 1935
There is a small and dedicated team at the Quinta devoted to ensure our guests are looked after and made to feel at home. We are not a hotel with staff and services available at all hours. We aim to offer instead a personal, warm and welcoming service, to make you really feel at home and to help you enjoy and experience this wonderful place and all it has to offer. We promise to do our very best to ensure you leave with some wonderful memories and experiences. We speak English and Portuguese, and a little French and German.
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Social Capital €14000 Tax No. 513 806 490